DURHAM, N.C. – The Board of Directors for the Southern Coalition for Social Justice (SCSJ) has hired Kareem Crayton, J.D., Ph.D. to serve as the interim executive director as the organization conducts a search for a full-time director. Anita Earls, the organization’s current executive director and founder, is stepping down from her position at the end of the year to run for a seat on the Supreme Court of North Carolina.
Dr. Crayton’s employment with the civil rights organization will start on January 1, 2018.
“We are incredibly fortunate to have Dr. Kareem Crayton be a part of this transition,” said Farad Ali, Chair of SCSJ’s Board of Directors. “In the 10 years since our founding, the Southern Coalition for Social Justice has become one of the premier civil rights organizations in our country. We are committed to moving forward, and Dr. Crayton is the right person to help us do just that.”
Dr. Crayton is an internationally respected scholar, expert, and consultant whose work centers on the intersection of law, politics, and race. He is the only academic in the United States in law and political science whose primary work explores the relationship between race and politics in representative institutions. A native of Montgomery, Alabama, Crayton is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard College and holds a Ph.D. in Political Science as well as a law degree from Stanford University. Aside from managing a consulting firm, Dr. Crayton has most recently served on the faculty of Vanderbilt University Law School.
“The Southern Coalition for Social Justice is vital to defending the civil rights of marginalized communities in the South,” said Dr. Kareem Crayton. “Having worked with this organization over the years as a partner, I know the key role SCSJ plays in making our governing institutions more accountable and responsive. I am therefore excited to lead the board, staff, and our community partners through this phase and to make sure we continue this important work well into the future.”
Anita Earls, SCSJ’s current director, praised the board’s decision. “Kareem brings great insight to our organization. His deep knowledge of issues related to race, politics, and the South will be an incredible asset to the coalition,” said Earls. “I am comforted to know that Dr. Crayton will be taking charge of the organization I founded and love.”
“There is no way that SCSJ would have accomplished everything we have without the leadership of Anita Earls. We are thankful for and will certainly miss her leadership,” said Farad Ali. “Our work moves forward, though. We will continue to challenge unconstitutional racial and partisan gerrymandering that disenfranchises people and communities of color. We will persist in our advocacy for reforming the criminal justice system, ending the school-to-prison pipeline, and creating fairer and safer schools for our youth.